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Sturgeon Week Features

Fishing WisconsinWinnebago System sturgeon spearing 2017

Big fish to date

Daniel Bloesl registered this 77.0”, 147.9 pound F4 female sturgeon at Indian Point. It was the largest fish harvested during the 2016 season.

Anticipation - season begins February 11, 2017


Lake Winnebago system sturgeon spearing regulations 2017

The 2017 Lake Winnebago System Sturgeon Spearing Regulations [PDF]

2017 Lake Winnebago -

Daily harvest Season harvest Harvest cap
Juvenile females - - 344
Adult females - - 855
Males - - 976
Totals - - -

2017 Upriver Lakes -

Daily harvest Season harvest Harvest cap
Juvenile females - - 86
Adult females - - 95
Males - - 244
Totals - - -

2017 Winnebago system sturgeon season summary report

Coming in February!

2016 Winnebago system sturgeon vignettes

Sturgeon shanty rentals

If you or someone you know rents shanties for the spearing season on Lake Winnebago and/or the Upriver Lakes, please send the contact information to Ryan Koenigs. Shanty rental information is very popular (and helpful) to first-time sturgeon spearers.

Sturgeon license sales for 2016 season

A record 13,674 licenses were sold for the 2016 sturgeon spearing season on the Winnebago System (13,190 licenses for Lake Winnebago; 484 licenses for Upriver Lakes).  License sales this year were a 4.1% increase over the 2015 season and a 15.6% increase over the 2014 season.  The overall increase in effort is attributable to the overall spearing success of last two spearing seasons where spearers benefited from strong ice conditions and clear water.  The spear fishery on the Upriver Lakes continues to receive a lot of interest with 5,981 people applying for a chance to spear the Upriver Lakes.

History of the Upriver Lakes sturgeon spear fishery and trends in the modern era

More information about the history of the Upriver Lakes spear fishery can be viewed in the document History of the Upriver Lakes Sturgeon Spear Fishery and Trends in the Modern Era. [PDF]

2015 sturgeon spearing season summaries

Sturgeon spearing culture

The ice-fishing season for lake sturgeon is more about getting together and fishing together than harvesting a lunker.

Sturgeon guard

There are two critical time periods for collecting data from our sturgeon population, the annual spearing season and spring spawning assessments.  Each year thousands of lake sturgeon migrate up the tributaries of the Winnebago System (Wolf, upper Fox, Embarrass and Little Wolf Rivers most notably) to spawn. The sturgeon spawn along rocky shorelines on outside river bends and literally spawn at your feet.  This provides a great opportunity to view sturgeon spawning in the wild, which is an experience not available anywhere else in North America.  However, poaching has historically been a concern given the vulnerability of these majestic fish during spawning.  The Sturgeon Guard program was implemented to curtail the illegal activity and protect these fish during spawning periods.  At first, law enforcement officers would monitor known spawning sites, but it was difficult for the warden staff to cover all of the known spawning areas with a limited work force.  The Sturgeon Guard program then went public and the rest is history.  The general public can now sign up for 12-hour shifts to watch sturgeon spawn and protect the fish from harassment and other illegal activity.  There are hundreds of folks who sign up every year for this opportunity, and this really is an example of a successful collaboration between the community and the DNR that has helped the population significantly increase!  As the spearing season draws near the end, I thought it would be beneficial to highlight a potential next opportunity for folks interested in sturgeon and that opportunity is volunteering through the Sturgeon Guard program.

Contact information
For more information, please contact:
Karl Scheidegger
Fisheries biologist
Last revised: Monday January 09 2017